Researchers Claim Mint Tea May Be Effective Alternative Medicine

Brazilian tea may be alternative treatment for common coldThere may be a natural way for some people to treat headaches, stomach pain and fever, which could be a timely discovery given that it’s flu season in the United States.

Researchers from Newcastle University have found that Brazilian mint tea, which uses the herb Hyptis crenata, had the same pain-relieving effect when compared to an aspirin-type drug.

Graciela Rocha, who led the study, said the herb has been used in the past to treat pain and that the researchers’ experiments with mice have "scientifically proven that it works as well as some synthetic drugs."

The researchers asked Brazilian doctors how the mint tea was prepared and administered it to the mice. They then used infrared beams to measure the effect of the mint tea on the animals.

"We were really surprised by how well it worked," Rocha told The Times Online. "The taste isn’t what most people in the UK would recognize as mint, it is more like sage."

Though it was not tested for it, mint tea may be an alternative treatment for those suffering from flu-like symptoms, which include headache and fever.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19480011-ADNFCR

Pine Bark Extract May Help Ward Off Early Stage Diabetic Retinopathy

Pine bark extract may help ward off early stage diabetic retinopathyA recent study suggests that plant extract taken from the bark of a pine tree can improve circulation, swelling and visual acuity in diabetic patients.

Researchers at the Gabrielle D’Annunzio University in Italy have revealed that the antioxidant pycnogenol, found in French maritime pine trees, can relieve symptoms associated with early diabetic retinopathy.

Characterized by leaky blood vessels that cause damage to the retina, the condition affects nearly 45 percent of diabetic patients and is the leading cause of blindness in people with the disease.

After only three months of treatment using pycnogenol, the majority of clinical patients with early stage diabetic retinopathy reported significant improvements in both eyesight and retinal swelling.

"Our study suggests that pycnogenol taken in the early stages of retinopathy may enhance retinal blood circulation accompanied by a regression of edema, which favorably improves vision of patients," said lead researcher Robert Steigerwalt.

"Pycnogenol may be particularly beneficial for preventing this complication in diabetic patients, based on the large number of individuals who were diagnosed when the disease had already significantly progressed," he added.

Obama's Nobel Speech Appeases Some, Frustrates Others

Obama's Nobel speech appeases some, frustrates othersDuring his Nobel peace prize acceptance speech on Thursday, President Barack Obama remained humble, acknowledging his own limited accomplishments while vehemently defending U.S. involvement overseas.

In particular, Obama refused to denounce the concept of war just nine days after ordering 30,000 more troops into battle in Afghanistan.

"Evil does exist in the world," Obama said, quoted by the Associated Press. "A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms."

"To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism," he added. "It is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."

Although Obama’s speech received acclaim from some notable Republicans including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, others were bothered that he received the honor so early into his reign as a world leader.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed frustration with the president receiving such an award while refusing to prosecute alleged war criminals, according to the Huffington Post.

"I think that there is an obvious tension between what the president is saying about the commitment we’ve got to human rights and the work we’re doing inside the U.S.," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.

"We’re frustrated by the gap in the Obama administration’s rhetoric on accountability and reality," he added.

Honduran Democracy, Unemployment and Liberals

*Please Mr. President, honor democracy in Honduras. The people of Honduras have voted overwhelmingly for a new, non-Marxist president. The turnout of eligible voters was substantially higher than we had in the United States last November. A few days later, their congress also voted overwhelmingly not to reinstate Manuel Zelaya, the Chavez crony who was removed from office earlier this year. So now the question is, will the Obama Administration stop supporting a Marxist wanna-be and honor the wishes of a free and independent people? Let’s hope so.

*Those phony labor statistics. Also in the headlines last week: U.S. unemployment figures dipped from a record high of 10.2 percent all the way down to… well, 10.0 percent. “Only” 11,000 more workers lost their jobs in November, we were told. The market loved the news, with the Dow soaring over 100 points. What you weren’t told is that some 53,000 “discouraged” workers were no longer counted as unemployed… because they had stopped looking for work! The real jobless rate increased by 293,000 last month, to 5.9 million. Some recovery this is.

*Even the liberals are turning on him. My quote of the week comes from Tina Brown, the ultra-liberal editor of The Daily Beast. She says, “I have come to the conclusion that the real reason this gifted communicator (Barack Obama) has become so bad at communicating is that he doesn’t really believe a word that he is saying. He couldn’t convey that healthcare reform would be somehow cost-free because he knows it won’t be.” Gee, I don’t know, Ms. Brown. Outlandish exaggeration and distortion never seemed to bother the First Teleprompter before.

Chip Wood

Obama Meets Democrats To Push For Healthcare Reform

Obama meets Democrats to push for healthcare reform As the Senate struggles with some of the most contentious aspects of the healthcare reform legislation, President Obama met with the Democratic caucus on Sunday to encourage further work on what he called "the most important social legislation since Social Security."

The bill under consideration would extend insurance coverage to about 30 million more Americans, but issues such as paying for abortions and the creation of a government-run insurance system have so far proven too significant to overcome the partisan divide over the legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky reiterated that the bill ignored GOP concerns and that the Democrats have expressed "no interest in drafting a proposal that was in the political middle," an allegation his opponents dismissed saying the Republicans failed to offer constructive ideas, hoping to hurt Obama politically.

According to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, who was present during the meeting with the president, Obama "reminded us why we’re here, he reminded us why we run for office and he reminded us how many people are counting on us to come through," quoted by

The Senate on Tuesday rejected an amendment designed to put additional restrictions on federal funding for abortion by adding language included in the House version of the bill.

In order to avoid a filibuster, the Democrats need 60 votes, which means either unanimity in their caucus or support from some Republican members, which appears unlikely thus far.

The War on Christmas

I’ve written before about how upset I get at all the politically correct prissies who refuse to let their salespeople or employees wish their customers “Merry Christmas” this time of year.

Because they’re afraid they might upset someone who doesn’t celebrate the holiday they insist on such mind-numbing platitudes as “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.” I hear it over and over again—and always respond with a loud and cheery “and Merry Christmas to you!” Most of time, I get a cheerful “Merry Christmas” right back.

Sadly, the war against Christmas continues to gain ground. Public-school officials at Marysville Elementary School in Wilmington, N.C., decided not to allow the kindergarten class to sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at the school’s annual Christmas—oops, scratch that—the school’s annual holiday show. Seems the parent of one student objected to the song because it contained the word “Christmas.” She didn’t want her little tyke exposed to something with “religious overtones.” So the school officials buckled.

What do they do at the public schools in your area?

Meanwhile, the battle against public display of anything religious claimed another victim, this time in Washington, D.C. The new visitor’s center at the United States Capitol contains a replica of the Speaker’s rostrum in the House chamber. It’s an exact copy, except for this change: The actual chair has the words “In God We Trust” engraved across the top. The phrase is missing from the copy. I wonder which scaredy-cat bureaucrat decided on that?

We’ve become so afraid of offending a tiny (but vocal) minority that it’s perfectly all right to ignore the wishes and beliefs of a huge (but silent) majority. I’ve heard this sad situation referred to as the tyranny of the minority. But I think a more accurate phrase is the cowardice of the majority. What a bunch of spineless sissies our leaders have become.

What the Constitution Actually Says

Permit me to rant for a bit about one of the biggest lies the anti-religious zealots have used against us. It is that “the Constitution requires the separation of church and state.”

Baloney. The Constitution requires no such thing.

Let me begin today’s lesson by asking you, what is the most important sentence in the U.S. Constitution?

I would submit that it’s the very first one. Do you remember how this marvelous document begins? Our founding fathers set the tone for everything they believed, and everything that would follow, in Article I, Section 1, sentence one. It reads, “All legislative powers herein granted are vested in Congress….”

A friend of mine who has lectured widely on the Constitution likes to stop at this point and ask: “Are there any math students present? Okay, maybe you can help me out. If ‘all’ lawmaking power resides in Congress, how much is in the Supreme Court? Right, none! How about the Executive Branch? Right, none again. Thanks for your help.”

There’s a very important principle here—one that has been deliberately obfuscated over the past 50 years. A Supreme Court decision isn’t supposed to be “the law of the land.” The Court has no Constitutional right to make law. All it is supposed to do is to decide “the law of the case.” Their decision should be binding on the plaintiff and the defendant … and no one else.

Instead, for most of my lifetime, layer upon layer of additional government has been sanctioned, and even initiated, by the black-robed justices of the U.S. Supreme Court—men and women who regularly and repeatedly ignore the very first sentence of the document they have sworn to uphold.

And let me digress for a moment to note that the very same principle applies to the Executive Branch. What lawmaking powers does the Constitution bestow on the President and all of the cabinets, agencies and commissions he oversees? Again, the answer is none. Yet we get Executive Orders, Presidential decrees, all sorts of new rules and regulations, and now dozens of new “czars,” for crying out loud. Each and every one has assumed powers that are nowhere granted in the Constitution. And no one dares challenge them!

With that as background, let’s turn to the First Amendment (the one used to justify arguments for “the separation of church and state”) and see what it actually says.

Here is how it begins:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? “Congress shall make no law,” either promoting a religion or prohibiting one.

According to the Constitution, what are the states allowed to do, when it comes to religion (or just about anything else)? The answer is, pretty much whatever they want.

Could a state require that the Ten Commandments be posted in every courthouse? Sure it could.

Could a city or county government install a crèche on its lawn every Christmas? Absolutely.

Could a governor encourage the citizens of his state to call on the Almighty to alleviate drought or do other good works? Without a doubt.

The framers of our Constitution expected the citizens of each state to decide for themselves how state and local affairs would be conducted. Would every state decide the same thing? Absolutely not. Our founding fathers expected differences to emerge between states. Some would be minor, some major. If one state passed laws you felt were onerous, you could vote to change them—or move to another state.

The idea that every law and every rule in every state should be exactly the same as the ones in every other state would strike our founding fathers as the height of absurdity. They believed that differences were good; that competition would reward good policy and punish bad.

The system worked pretty well for more than 150 years. It could work even better today, thanks to the vastly improved flow of information and transportation. If we choose, we can learn a lot about policies and procedures in other states. And if we like what we find out, we can get there a lot easier than our forefathers did.

Instead, we’ve permitted the tyranny of the minority to trample the rights of the majority. Maybe it’s time for the rest of us to demand our rights back.

My hat is off to the Bill O’Reillys, the Glenn Becks and the others across America who are fighting the good fight to celebrate Christmas this Dec. 25, and not just a “happy holiday.”

But I wish they would do more. I wish they would help us take the offensive against the liberal loonies who have gotten their way for far too long. How about a national campaign to explain and then restore the U.S. Constitution? That would be a Christmas present that would benefit the entire country.

And to all the sorry appeasers and retreaters out there, I hope someone roasts your chestnuts in an open fire. Bah, humbug, indeed.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Green Tea Compound Can Help Prevent Fatal Brain Disorders, New Study Suggests

Green tea compound can help prevent fatal brain disorders, new study suggests Researchers at Boston Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania have found that a green tea component, when combined with another chemical, may help prevent brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The study, published in the most recent issue of Nature Chemical Biology, suggests that the combination of the green tea element EGCG and the chemical DAPH-12 can prevent and destroy protein structures known as amyloids, the primary cause of fatal brain disorders.

Amyloid plaques are tightly wrapped layers of protein that envelop brain tissue causing loss of memory, motor function and premature death.

"Our findings are certainly preliminary and we need further work to fully comprehend the effects of EGCG in combination with other chemicals on amyloids," said lead scientist Martin Duennwald. "Yet, we see our study as a very exciting initial step towards combinatorial therapies for the treatment of amyloid-based diseases," he added.

The next step for the research team is to investigate the mechanism and potency of the proposed therapy in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Meanwhile, separate studies have indicated that the consumption of green tea can also help ward off heart disease and certain forms of cancer.

Poll: U.S. Isolationist Sentiment On The Rise

Poll: U.S. isolationist sentiment on the riseA recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests that the U.S. has taken a sharp turn toward isolationism.

In the midst of a struggling economy, roughly 49 percent of participants said that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally" and let other countries fend for themselves as best as they can.

The non-partisan research center has conducted a similar poll for the last 45 years and there has never been a plurality of voters who favored isolationism before.

However, the rate has steadily been rising. For example, in 2005, approximately 42 percent of respondents said that the U.S. should "mind its own business" in regards to international affairs, up from 30 percent in 2002.

Pew Research Center president Andrew Kohut said that the poor economy was most responsible for the America’s isolationist attitude and that the public was "displeased with the two wars [that the U.S. is] waging in Iraq and Afghanistan," quoted by the Associated Press.

Last week, President Obama announced that he will be dispatching 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The first batch of Marines will likely be deployed by the end of the year.

Marijuana Can Benefit Multiple Sclerosis Patients, Review Concludes

Marijuana can benefit multiple sclerosis patients, review concludesA new study conducted by the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles suggests that cannabis can significantly reduce spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Researchers reviewed six separate studies where marijuana was used in MS patients, and found that five of the trials showed that the use of the drug reduced spasms and involuntary muscle tension while improving the individual’s mobility.

"The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in MS appears to be comprehensive, and should be given considerable attention," said lead researcher Shaheen Lakhan.

Lakhan stated that current conventional treatments may also reduce spasticity, but can be ineffective, difficult to obtain or associated with painful side-effects.

Researchers do warn of potential repercussions of the use of medicinal marijuana, such as intoxication or addiction, but they add that "considering the distress and limitations spasticity brings to individuals with MS, it is important to carefully weigh the potential for side effects with the potential for symptom relief."

Meanwhile, independent research has indicated that medicinal marijuana may also be helpful in controlling symptoms associated with glaucoma and certain forms of cancer.

Democrats Look To Increase Debt Ceiling

Democrats look to increase debt ceilingOn Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that congressional Democrats are planning on raising the national debt ceiling before the end of the year.

Treasury officials have informed Congress that they must raise the cap before the end of the year or run the risk of not being able to make Social Security and veterans’ payments in January, according to the Washington Post.

Pelosi faced immediate criticism due to the fact that she plans to combine legislation that would raise the debt ceiling with the 2010 defense appropriations bill that will fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We need to have a vehicle so that the Senate can vote on it, and it is our intention to have something on the Department of Defense bill," said Pelosi.

House Minority Leader John Boehner stated that Republicans plan to vote against raising the debt ceiling.

"We’ll vote against it because of their trillion-dollar stimulus plan that hasn’t worked," he said, quoted by

"They have made a habit of taking defense appropriation bills, bills that fund the support of our troops, and adding on there the most distasteful things they can think of, trying to make sure they get it passed on the backs of our soldiers," Boehner added. "It’s a bad way of doing business."

Compound Found In Chicken Can Relieve Arthritis Pain, Research Concludes

Compound found in chicken can relieve arthritis pain, research concludesA new study conducted at the Anhui Medical University in China suggests that chicken collagen type II (CCII) can provide relief from symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The research team tested the experimental treatment by comparing it to the traditional anti-rheumatic drug methotrextrate. Patients who took CCII capsules showed considerably improved joint function and experienced milder side effects compared to those who went through the conventional western treatment.

"We’ve shown that CCII is a promising alternative therapeutic strategy that may be used as a nutritional supplement against rheumatoid arthritis," said lead researcher Wei Wei.

RA is an autoimmune disorder that forces the body to mistakenly attack its own tissue. The team believes that patients who take chicken collagen capsules can develop an "oral tolerance" that will lead to a reduction in autoimmune activity with little or no side effects.

Other alternative treatments that have shown promise in relieving RA symptoms include fish oil, thunder god vine and tai chi, according to the Mayo Clinic. Techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation and guided imagery can also be used to help prevent pain associated with the condition.

Go Ahead And Load Up On Cranberry Sauce This Holiday

Even if they turkey's gone, gobble up the rest of the cranberry sauceThanksgiving might be over, but don’t toss out the leftover cranberry sauce. A new study recently presented at the the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) indicated that weight loss and seasonal cranberry sauce might just be good for your health.

After examining insurance claims, researchers with the AUA found that a higher body mass index (BMI) might put individuals at a higher risk from suffering from a urinary tract infection. Those who choose to lose weight, and bring down their BMI, might be less likely to suffer from this condition.

This infection can develop into something quite aggressive if left untreated due to the bacteria that irritates the urinary tract. "If a patient has symptoms, he or she should seek care promptly to avoid potentially serious complications," advises Dr. Anthony Smith.

One way to keep the urinary tract healthy is to eat cranberries or drink cranberry juice. If you are concerned about your weight, look for sugar-free or low sugar options with as much fruit juice as possible. Make your own cranberry sauce to ensure it is full of healthy ingredients and when the turkey is gone, try mixing some with plain yogurt for a sweet, tart treat. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19487281-ADNFCR

House Votes To Extend Estate Tax, Senate Has One Month To Pass Own Version

House votes to extend estate tax, Senate has one month to pass own versionLast week, the House of Representatives voted to permanently extend the 45 percent inheritance tax on estates worth more than $3.5 million, which was set to expire at the end of the year.

In order for the bill to be enacted, the Senate will need to pass its own version by December 31. If they do not, the tax will be nonexistent for 2010 and will then revert back to pre-Bush-era rates where the first $1 million would be exempted and anything over that would be taxed at a rate of 55 percent.

"This bill gives our nation’s wealthiest families the ability to know exactly what their obligation to the nation that fostered their wealth will be, and it is fair and it is just," said Democratic Representative Jared Polis of Colorado, quoted by the Associated Press (AP).

Many Republicans have been calling for a permanent repeal of the estate tax, arguing that it hurts families who pass down small businesses to future generations.

"In a small business at normal rates of return, you can roughly double the business every generation, but then the government comes and takes half of it away from you," said Steve Entin, director of the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, quoted by Fox News. "It knocks you back to where you started, and they do this generation after generation," he added.

There is concern among supporters of the legislation that the Senate will not pass their own version of the bill by year’s end due to its preoccupation with the healthcare bill and the redeployment of troops to Afghanistan.

Will Huckabee's Alleged Clemency Of Seattle Shooter Cost Him Politically?

Will Huckabee's alleged clemency of Seattle shooter cost him politically?

Have revelations that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pardoned accused cop killer Maurice Clemmons in 2000 doomed Huckabee’s chances of securing the GOP presidential nomination in 2012?

Clemmons was shot to death by Seattle police Dec. 2, four days after he killed four Seattle police officers in a coffee shop.

Last week, The New York Times ran an article detailing the concerns some Arkansas prosecutors had about Huckabee’s apparent willingness to pardon individuals even with a significant criminal record.

According to the news source, "[the governor] typically gave little explanation for individual pardons [but] spoke often of his belief in redemption, based on a strong religious belief that even criminals are capable of changing their lives and often deserve a second chance."

In the meantime, Hucakbee sought to correct media reports by writing on the conservative news website that he only reduced Clemmons’ sentence from 108 years to 47 years, rather than setting him free.

Still, the former governor took full responsibility for his actions and expressed his sadness over the tragedy, but added that "if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision."

According to opinion polls taken before the shootings, Huckabee was leading the group of major candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, with 50 percent of respondents saying they believed he was qualified for the highest office.

Silver Bells Are Ringing

Silver bells are ringing, and it’s not just because of the season, but because of the buying opportunity afforded by investing in silver. Yes silver, the "poor man’s gold," has not gotten the attention it deserves.

In the past year the traditional press finally accepted the wisdom of owning some gold in an investment portfolio. We, of course, have been preaching this for the past 30 years.

While gold has been hitting record highs almost every day, silver barely gets a mention. Don’t make this same mistake in your portfolio! If you’re looking for protection from a falling U.S. dollar, silver offers several advantages over gold.

As I’ve noted before in this column, gold has been on a tear. Its price has climbed more than 50 percent since mid-November 2008. The reasons for this dramatic increase are central-bank buying, investor and investment-fund buying, paper-currency depreciation and inflation worries.

But while gold has risen 50 percent, silver has soared even higher. It is up more than 90 percent in the past year. And many analysts think silver will outshine gold in the coming year.
The silver rally went unnoticed by the traditional media and by most investors, too. One of the reasons is that unlike gold, silver is an industrial metal. Thanks to a recession in the U.S. and other countries in the West, the demand for silver declined. Now, as economies improve, the demand for silver is increasing.

Consider, too, that silver is nowhere near its all-time high of $50 per ounce, which it hit back in 1980. Gold meanwhile has risen far beyond its 1980 high of $850 an ounce. Many experts believe that silver has some catching up to do.

How much silver should you own? And how should you own it? My firm, Asset Strategies International, likes a precious-metals portfolio that is 40 percent gold, 40 percent silver, and 20 percent platinum. We suggest dividing your precious-metals holdings into metal you hold personally and metal that is stored offshore.

How To Buy and Store Silver

There are three “best ways” to buy and store physical silver. They are silver coins, silver bars and certificates. Following is some important information about each one.

Silver Coins

U.S. silver coins can be bought in two ways—as recently minted, 1-ounce Eagles, produced by the U.S. Mint; and U.S. 90 percent silver pre-1965 "junk silver" coins in dimes, quarters and halves.

For small purchases, contact two or three precious-metals dealers and ask for a quote. Shop around, as premiums can vary. Today, all dealers have toll-free telephone numbers. Choose someone who has been in business for several years. And ask if they belong to the Industry Council for Tangible Assets, the precious-metals professional association. If you haven’t dealt with the dealer before then check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against them.

You can lock in a price over the phone. The price will include a small shipping and handling fee. Once the dealer receives “good funds” (after your check clears or a wire is received), your coins will be sent to you.

For larger purchases, consider buying a $1,000 face-value bag of 90 percent junk silver. This purchase equates to buying 715 ounces of silver. A big advantage here is divisibility. For example, $1,000 face value in dimes would be 10,000 dimes. In the 1970s, I recall some individuals paying for a gallon of gas with one silver dime.

This purchase of more than $10,000 would require a wire to the dealer covering the cost of the silver and shipping. In both instances the silver is shipped to you via the U.S.P.S.’s (U.S.P.S.) registered insured mail.

Likewise, when you wish to sell you can send your silver back to the dealer the same way. Typically, storage is in a bank safe deposit box, in a home safe, or, if you’re a “midnight gardener,” buried in the back yard.

Silver Bars

Bars of silver ranging from one ounce to 1,000 ounces can be purchased from a precious-metals dealer. My recommendation is to purchase the 100-ounce bars. Premiums on 1-ounce bars are too high to be cost-effective. The 1,000-ounce bars cannot be shipped through the U.S. post office, however. (Registered insured mail limits one package to a value of $25,000 or a weight of 70 pounds.)

The 100-ounce bars are considered investment-size. To avoid the need for assaying when you go to sell, bars should have four important features: a recognized hallmark (Engelhard, Johnson Matthey, no unknown producers), a standard weight (100 troy ounces), agreed-upon fineness (pure silver is .999), and a serial number (indicating that it is registered with the maker).

Up to nine 100-ounce bars can be shipped in one package through the U.S.P.S. Storage would be similar to that of silver coins.


Should you wish NOT to take delivery of your metals, the best way to purchase and store silver is with the Perth Mint of Western Australia. The Perth Mint Certificate Program is also the safest way to own metals, since it avoids possible confiscation (stored outside the U.S.), is fully insured (Lloyds of London), and is fully guaranteed (by the AAA-rated Western Australian government). There are no shipping charges and the unallocated silver can be stored without charge.

You can buy and sell Perth Mint Certificates through their network of Approved Dealers. My company, Asset Strategies International, has been an Approved Dealer since the program was started a dozen years ago. In fact, we helped the Perth Mint design it.

For a free report on the Perth Mint Certificate Program, send an email to Or call us at 1-800-831-007 or 301-881-8600. We’ll be delighted to answer any questions you may have about adding the protection of silver to your own portfolio.

Yes, the outlook for silver is very bright. Many precious-metals experts expect it to outperform gold in the coming year. Considering that it would have to rise more than 250 percent to equal its old highs (gold has already done that), they have a good point.

Silver is easy to buy, whether the newly minted Eagles from the U.S. Mint, bags of older junk silver coins or bars. For larger quantities, offshore storage at the Perth Mint in Western Australia is safe, secure and guaranteed.

May the silver bells you hear this Christmas represent the joy of the season and the safety of your investment.

Merry Christmas!

—Michael Checkan

Democrats and the General Welfare Clause

Senate Democrats continue to try and draft a healthcare reform bill that will be palatable to Blue Dog Democrats yet still contain enough of a so-called public option to placate the party’s left-wing base. Both the Senate bill and the bill already passed by the House of Representatives contain a mandate requiring everyone to purchase health insurance or face fines and possible jail terms.

When asked where Congress gets the authority to force Americans to buy health insurance, Congressmen—if they answer the question at all—cite the general welfare clause of the Constitution.

“Well, in promoting the general welfare the Constitution obviously gives broad authority to Congress to effect that end,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told “The end that we’re trying to effect is to make health care affordable, so I think clearly this is within our constitutional responsibility.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t answer the question at all. She replied, “Are you serious?” And Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.), obviously a great Constitutional scholar, told, “Well, that’s under certainly the laws of the—protect the health, welfare of the country.”

The word health does not appear in the Constitution. And the founders certainly never intended for the general welfare clause to be used to pass anything they pleased. But, as Judge Andrew P. Napolitano wrote in his book, The Constitution in Exile, Congress has been abusing the general welfare clause for many years.

The preamble to the Constitution says:

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Prosperity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In an opinion on forming a national bank, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." (Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government,

Clearly the nation’s third president and the author of the Declaration of Independence would scoff at today’s congressmen and the understanding—or lack thereof—they have of the Constitution.

Shocking Proof… Global Warming is a Hoax

(Part three of a three-part series on energy.)

“We’re being asked to wage trillions of dollars and substantially curtail freedom on climate models that are imperfect and unproven. (With) the consensus far from being as solid as they say it is, and the debate as over as they say it is.”
George F. Will

In President Nixon’s day, dirty tricksters did things the old fashioned way—with black gloves and flashlights. The result was Watergate, the eventual legacy of which may be that anything corrupt contains a word ending with “gate.”

The latest incident is Climategate. It began about three weeks ago when a computer hacker broke through a server used by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England.

Unlike Watergate, which started a grand conspiracy, last month’s hacker-heist may unravel one. It appears as if the stolen e-mails reveal collusion by climate scientists to withhold scientific information. Some scientists don’t want the public to know the shocking truth—that the climate is NOT getting warmer.

The hacked e-mails from men and women of science include discussions on how to silence climate change skeptics. The e-mails also discussed how to censure scientists who dare to have contrary views on global warming and included derogatory remarks about climate skeptics. Finally, the e-mails discuss how to prevent actual data from being revealed under the Freedom of Information Act—an action that seems to have little to do with freedom and less to do with information.

For example, after learning that the scientific journal Climate Research had suggested that perhaps the world isn’t burning up, Penn State professor Michael Mann wrote in an e-mail: "I think we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in this journal."

Besides a seeming tendency to write people off in true Stalinist fashion, Mann has made a living writing about the dangers of global warming. He helped build the “hockey stick graph” shown below.

“Remember that this is not an academic exercise,” wrote The Atlantic. “We contemplate outlays of trillions of dollars to fix this supposed problem. Do the scientists involved deserve to be trusted? No. These people are willing to subvert the very methods—notably, peer review—that underwrite the integrity of their discipline.”

But the story gets even better. At the end of November the University of East Anglia admitted losing raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that nobody can check basic calculations that supposedly show a long-term rise in temperature for the past 130 years.

With Watergate Nixon gave the old, “The dog ate my homework” excuse. (Actually Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods said she accidentally erased the recording of the president’s meeting with H.R. Haldeman that took place three days after the break-in.)

With Climategate, the University of East Anglia is saying the computer ate the data.

According to the University’s Website: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenized) data.”

Even if you accept that the University isn’t cooking the books, the environmentalists have a problem. They claim that world temperatures have risen one degree Fahrenheit in the past century. However the starting point—around 1880—was colder than average. Furthermore, the timing of temperature changes does not fit the theory of global warming. Most of the rise came before 1940, or before greenhouse gases were significant.

A Bright Future for this Old Resource

In the end I think global warming will turn out to be more myth than fact. If that’s the case then a lot of alternative energy investors will be tempted to jump-off the windmills they invested in. And as it is demonstrated that fossil fuels are not going to flood the world and kill off all the polar bears, core energy investors should do spectacularly well. In fact, the biggest profits might be in the oldest resource—coal.

Coal-fired power plants account for half of the U.S. electricity supply. More importantly, coal is also America’s most abundant natural resource.

We have seen in the first two parts of this series that we live in a dangerous age—a period where renewable energy technologies have not yet been realized and a time when America is becoming dangerously dependent on Arab oil.

This third part to the series focuses on a tangible solution—coal. In all of its abundance and its utility, coal will power America deep into the 21st Century.

Just last month The Wall Street Journal ran an article titled: Coal Warriors: Why U.S. Coal Producers Could Still Have a Bright Future.

The WSJ stated: “Coal is and will remain a huge part of the electricity mix in the U.S., despite—or perhaps because of—congressional action on energy and the climate.”

The United States — the Saudi Arabia of Coal

The heady days of petroleum in America are far behind us. Over the course of the past 30 years America’s oil imports have surged threefold—from 2.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) to 7.6 mb/d.

The fundamental fact is that the United States and the world are hungry for energy. Consider the following:

  • U.S. demand for all types of energy is expected to increase by 31 percent within 25 years.
  • Electricity demand in the U.S. will grow by at least 40 percent by 2032.

New power generation equal to nearly 300 1,000 megawatt power plants will be needed to meet electricity demand by 2030; as many as half of them will be coal.

Luckily, coal is the one resource the United States has plenty of. The U.S. has the largest coal reserves in the world, just short of 250 billion tons. That is almost the combined reserves of the next two largest reserve countries China and Russia.

In fact, the U.S. is one of the world’s leading exporters of coal, and is expected to ship 65 million tons this year. That total will grow as nations like India and China ramp up their industrial revolutions with King Coal.

Future world demand for electricity is expected to be so strong that Exxon-Mobil is planning on spending a record $25 billion to $30 billion annually over the next five years finding new hydrocarbon deposits.

“The global economy is experiencing a downturn but at Exxon-Mobil we are focused on the long-term,” said Rex Tillerson, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Power up Your Portfolio with Arch Coal

Any conversation about meeting future energy needs must include coal. Even the “greens” realize this. According to left-leaning CNET News, “Coal is a major source of air pollution, mining accidents, and environmental damage. Unfortunately, we can’t live without it.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) agrees. In its World Energy Outlook, the IEA says global energy demand will surge by 45 percent between now and 2030. The number one resource to meet this demand will be coal.

That makes investing in coal a smart choice, especially when you consider how depressed coal company stock prices have been over the past 15 months.

My favorite blue-chip coal company is Arch Coal Inc (ACI, NYSE).

Arch mines and sells steam and metallurgical coal from surface and underground mines to power plants, steel mills and industrial facilities in the United States. Arch operates 20 active mines and owns some 2.8 billion tons of proven and probable recoverable reserves.

As you can see from this graph, Arch is selling for about $20 or just one-quarter of its 2008 high. The recession and the growing fears over “green” politics, starting inside the White House, make Arch an incredible bargain. Meanwhile the world is slowly learning the truth—that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the left-wing establishment and a liberal media.

And if that was not enough, the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration continue to expand the U.S. money supply at a shocking and unprecedented rate. You can read more details on this by going to my Nov. 11 column, Obama’s Bear Market: How to Survive and Prosper.

This surge of new money and continued easy credit is certain to lead to excessive inflation and continued dollar devaluation.

Taken as a whole, these factors could result in the doubling of Arch Coal’s price over the next 18 months. That’s something you don’t often get with a large market cap stock. Yet I think we are going to see with Arch.

Action to take: I urge you to buy Arch Coal (ACI, NYSE) at market. Call you stockbroker today.

Yours for real wealth and good health

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

An Obituary That Changed Perception

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read your own obituary? More than 100 years ago that actually happened to one of the richest men in the world. What he read changed forever how he would be remembered.

The man was Alfred B. Nobel. The source of his vast wealth was the invention of dynamite, which quickly became the most popular explosive in the world. Governments ordered it in huge quantities. Armies were able to kill and maim huge numbers of enemy combatants faster and easier than ever before.

By the late 1800s there were dynamite factories and munitions-makers the world over. Alfred Nobel was wealthy “beyond the dreams of avarice,” as the saying goes. Then fate intervened.

Alfred’s brother died. But when it was erroneously reported that it was Alfred who had left this vale of tears, he got to read the obituaries that the world’s press wrote about him.

Alfred was appalled to see that his legacy would be one of bloodshed and death, and he vowed to change it. By leaving the bulk of his vast fortune to fund something that would become known as the Nobel Prizes, he was able to do so.

Alfred Nobel died on Dec. 10, 1896. For more than a century, the Nobel Committee in Stockholm, Sweden, has honored their benefactor by awarding the Nobel Prizes on the date of his passing. Some of the recipients are actually worthy of the wealth and acclaim they receive.

—Chip Wood

Obama Provides Timetable For Winding Down Afghan War, But Criticism Abounds

Obama provides timetable for winding down Afghan war, but criticism abounds President Obama has announced he is sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and has promised to start withdrawing the American units in July 2011.

In a speech delivered at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Obama explained that "we must deny al-Qaida a safe haven… reverse the Taliban’s momentum… and strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces and government."

However, he has faced criticism from both Democrats, who disapprove of the troop buildup, as well as Republicans who claim a withdrawal in 18 months is unrealistically short.

Even before the speech, former vice president Dick Cheney told Politico that Obama’s plan risks projecting "weakness." He added that the way the president is framing the debate, the average Afghan citizen "sees talk about exit strategies and how soon we can get out, instead of talk about how we win," quoted by The Washington Post.

Obama’s advisors, including chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, are meanwhile arguing that the buildup is necessary since the insurgency has already gained "dominant influence" in 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

The new deployment will increase the number of U.S. troops in the country to nearly 100,000. According to The Wall Street Journal, the escalation will cost about $30 billion.

New York Senate Rejects Same-sex Marriage Bill By Wide Margin

New York Senate rejects same-sex marriage bill by wide margin After months of delays, the New York State Senate finally voted on a piece of legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage. Last Wednesday, lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected the bill by a margin of 32 votes against and 24 in favor.

The Democrats, who hold a one-seat majority in the Senate, needed GOP support to pass the bill, but not a single Republican state senator voted for the measure, the New York Times reports.

"This is an enormous victory," said Maggie Gallagher, the leader of the National Organization for Marriage, which mobilizes the fight against same-sex marriage. "What you saw was the will of the people. … The culture really hasn’t shifted on gay marriage," she added, as quoted by Reuters.

After the vote, supporters of the proposed bill were somber, yet remained optimistic.

"We will not accept defeat and we will not stop fighting until all New Yorkers are treated equally," declared council speaker Christine Quinn, who is gay.

Before the debate, Democratic Senator Ruben Diaz stated that in all 31 states where same-sex marriage was put to a vote, it was rejected by the people. He proposed that the Senate should let New Yorkers decide the fate of gay marriage rather than leaving it in the hands of lawmakers, according to

Meanwhile, Richard Socarides, who was former President Bill Clinton’s senior adviser on gay rights issues, called New York the "biggest prize" in the debate over the legalization of gay marriage. He referred to the state as a "bellwether" for the entire country on account of its importance as a financial, cultural and artistic center of the nation, the Associated Press reports.

Senators Look To Create Commission To Battle Rising Debt

Senators look to create commission to battle rising debtAs the national debt continues to climb to record highs, select members of Congress are discussing the idea of putting together a bi-partisan commission to help tackle the nation’s swelling deficit.

Since 2002, the national debt has doubled and is now rising at a rate of $3.8 billion per day. In the last eight years, members of Congress have voted seven times to increase the statutory debt limit to allow more borrowing, McClatchy Newspapers reports.

With the proposed healthcare bill and a possible escalation of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan on the table, at least a dozen senators are threatening to vote against any increase in the debt limit unless Congress passes a deficit-fighting plan.

"I will not vote for raising the debt limit without a vehicle to handle this. … This is our moment," said California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, quoted by the news source.

Feinstein and a group of other senators wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking Congress to create a commission that would make recommendations on budget cuts.

Some critics believe that creating a permanent deficit commission would take too much power away from Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued that the biggest complaint that Americans have is not that the deficit is too large, but that they are not seeing any benefits associated with the increased debt, Fox News reports.

Judge Denies Republicans' Effort To End Voter Intimidation Consent Decree

Judge denies Republicans' effort to end voter intimidation consent decreeLast week, a federal judge in New Jersey rejected an attempt by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to dissolve a 27-year-old court order that is intended to prevent the intimidation of minority voters.

Stemming from a lawsuit brought forth by the Democratic National Committee in 1982, a consent decree was agreed upon which forced the RNC to gain court approval to use certain election tactics, including the creation of voter challenge lists, photographing voters at the polls and posting off-duty police at voting locations in minority neighborhoods, according to The New York Times.

Republicans argued that the consent decree was hampering efforts to combat voter fraud, which had escalated over the previous few years, according to RNC lawyers.

Voting expert Tom Josefiak argued on behalf of the Republicans, stating that the political landscape had changed with African Americans serving as president and attorney general. He also said that the RNC chairman and chief administrative officer are African American, and that the party had no incentive to intimidate minority voters.

In a 79-page ruling, Judge Dickinson Debevoise extended the restrictions for at least another eight years, although he did narrow the scope of the decree.

"It appears that the RNC has been largely unsuccessful in its efforts to attract minority voters," said Debevoise, quoted by the news source. "Until it is able to do so, it will have an incentive to engage in the type of voter suppression that it allegedly committed in the actions that led to the enactment and modification of the consent decree."